Myth: It will get better on its own.
Fact: Without treatment, postpartum depression can become chronic.
Myth: I’m struggling, but since I'm not sad I must not have postpartum depression.
Fact: It's not that simple.
Another possibility is that while a mother isn’t experiencing depression, she is exhibiting features of postpartum anxiety. Postpartum anxiety often manifests with symptoms similar to obsessive compulsive disorder: obsessive thoughts, checking the baby or items around the house to an extent that it impacts daily functioning, or intrusive worries that make it difficult to leave the house. Postpartum anxiety is relatively common and is rarely discussed to the same extent as postpartum depression. For this reason, many professionals use the more inclusive term "perinatal mood and anxiety disorders" to describe anxiety and depression during pregnancy and the postpartum period.
Myth: I have scary thoughts about hurting my baby, so it must be postpartum psychosis.
Fact: Intrusive thoughts are more indicative of anxiety than psychosis.
Postpartum psychosis is a psychiatric emergency. Mamas with postpartum psychosis may feel as though they don’t need sleep. They might also think someone is trying to hurt them, possibly even their baby. They don't experience the same horror at the thought of harming their baby because they temporarily lack the capacity to recognize right from wrong and may feel they are being directed to hurt themselves or their family. Women with postpartum psychosis require immediate assistance to avoid harming themselves or someone else, but it is possible to make a full recovery.